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Old 08-10-2009, 10:03 AM   #1
goldcupmom
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HIVES!!!!! are driving me insane!!!(update posted)

Today is day 12. And the sad thing is that these started while I was supposedly on a nice, relaxing 20 day vacation culminating in a cruise. The trip started w/ a train wreck & ended up not relaxing & still isn't!

7/29 we were in Grand Cayman & went to Boatswain's beach swimming in a man-made lagoon with Sea Turtles. There was algae floating in the lagoon, but I didn't think much of it....now I wonder. I have to preface this with that on 7/23, I had what I THOUGHT was a mosquito bite on the top of one shoulder and on 7/26, what DNiece thought was a spot of eczema (looked like her DDs) on my spine.

Got back on the ship after couple hours of swimming, then a couple of stressful, hot, shopping, & a good part of a large rum punch. Hungry, tired, thirsty. About 2 hours later noticed a HUGE, hot, red lump on my inner upper left arm. Everyone thought it looked like a bug bite, but seemed more a hive to me as never found any puncture hole(s). Later in the evening I found lots of small hives on upper left chest/shoulder that quickly grew together. Started on Benadryl & put hydrocortisone on them. Next morning they were all gone, arm was near normal, but found several small 'spots' on torso.

7/30 - climbed Dunn's Falls in Jamaica, shopped some & ate a bit of Jerk Chicken at Scotchies. By evening I was getting a few more hives. Kept up the benadryl & hydrocortisone cream.

7/31 - still itchy & hives mostly gone during the day, more towards evening & large area on right side bra area/seam area and hip area in same spot.

8/1 - lots still on right side in the morning & more scattered. Flew home & had several on lower back/crack area.

8/2 - woke middle of night to take the dogs out & could tell I had 1 or more on soles of each foot. Hives on right side were completely gone, but several scattered & red spots on palms(under surface) & could still feel some 'coming & going' on scalp & back of neck.

8/3 - woke middle of night to take dog out & inside of right cheek was swollen. Other than that, just the smaller ones, coming mostly after about 3 p.m. & mostly gone by noon.

8/4 -still the same

8/5 - up in night from about 1 - 5a.m. w/ pain in chest/throat area. Worse when I swallowed. About the same amount of hives I could see.

8/6 - During the day if I tried to eat/drink all was fine until mid sternum when it hurt when food passed into stomach.

8/7 - throat issue better, but a few larger hives in morning & a few more popping up in evening. Called to get a Dr. appt.

8/8 - Day 10. Went to Dr w/ a few still showing. Said to stop the benadryl & take zyrtec 1x day. Come back if not better in about 5 - 7 days to start tests to see if underlying cause. Zyrtec at 5:20p

8/9 - Seemed to have even more small ones when I woke up. Early afternoon pretty clear. Began reappearing about 3 p.m.

8/10 - Had swollen lower rt lip in middle of night when took dogs out. Mostly gone now at 9a.m. Large cluster of large hives on right upper back all night from about 7 p.m. Smaller, but still going. Stomach area has a few small that look new, lots on back.

Does anyone have any ideas? I truly am going insane. Trying to decide if I want to go back to my internist(probably not) or go to a dermatologist or an allergist. This is truly, quickly, disrupting my life!! Prayers appreciated!
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Last edited by goldcupmom; 09-17-2009 at 02:13 PM.
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Old 08-10-2009, 01:21 PM   #2
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It sounds like you need an allergist. And probably some steroids. No telling what you're reacting to. I hope you can get results soon. I have something called chronic urticaria--chronic hives with itching. It starts and stops for no known reason. Drives me crazy when it's active,too. I take prescription allergy meds year-round.

My sister had an experience similar to yours when she went to Hawaii. I wonder if there could be some connection? The day they arrived she went straight to the beach for about 5 hours of fun in the sun. She thought she was getting sunburned, so she patted some wet sand on her skin to cool it off. Well. She looked like a monstor by morning. Her feet looked like a Clydesdale! A trip to the ER took care of the most immediate problems and uncovered something interesting: Laura is very allergic to shellfish. The pink sand in Hawaii is made of broken coral. She was lucky she didn't stop breathing!

I hope you feel better soon. Chronic hives is a PITA.
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Old 08-10-2009, 03:09 PM   #3
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Wow! I can't imagine this never going away!!

Seems like from about 3 p.m. on I 'grow new ones' and from about 12a - 3p I'm pretty ok.

Tried to get in to a dermatologist here & first available appt is 9/14. UGH!!!! Will try an allergist tomorrow!

I know that midlife many develop allergies & I turned 49 on the cruise. Ate shimp daily until the hives started (3 days) and lobster the night before. I just would have thought if it was an allergy to something I ate then or was in contact with then that it would have stopped. Guess when they start firing they don't know how to stop. Lucky me!
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Old 08-10-2009, 06:15 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by goldcupmom View Post
Wow! I can't imagine this never going away!!

Seems like from about 3 p.m. on I 'grow new ones' and from about 12a - 3p I'm pretty ok.

Tried to get in to a dermatologist here & first available appt is 9/14. UGH!!!! Will try an allergist tomorrow!

I know that midlife many develop allergies & I turned 49 on the cruise. Ate shimp daily until the hives started (3 days) and lobster the night before. I just would have thought if it was an allergy to something I ate then or was in contact with then that it would have stopped. Guess when they start firing they don't know how to stop. Lucky me!
Try the allergest. My dermatologist didn't have a clue. With chronic urticaria the little histamine pumps get switched on and they can't seem to stop. At one point I was taking two meds to keep it controlled. Eventually it got better so that now if I forget the med for a day or so it's not too bad. *okay, it's not as good as not itching all day, but I'm not clawing my face and scaring small children.*
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Old 08-24-2009, 10:48 PM   #5
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According to my allergist, a cause is not usually found for chronic urticaria but it should eventually go away (however I am on month 23). Meds help. I take Zyrtec daily and only have a bad flare up about once a month which I can control with Benadryl.
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Old 08-25-2009, 02:49 AM   #6
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I also take zyrtec for hives... I get them when I go from hot to cold or when I exercise. Zyrtec keeps them at bay.. also, I have tried Claritin non drowsy and that works too.
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Old 08-25-2009, 09:13 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by acy View Post
According to my allergist, a cause is not usually found for chronic urticaria but it should eventually go away (however I am on month 23). Meds help. I take Zyrtec daily and only have a bad flare up about once a month which I can control with Benadryl.
You are right, chronic urticaria usually has no definite cause. My allergist decided after taking a thorough history NOT to do allergy testing for this reason. I concur. I have had chronic urticaria for 9 years. It waxes and wanes. I take Allegra 180mg everyday year round. When it gets really bad, I have to take zantac 150mg to turn off the histamine pumps(histamine is what gives us that "allergic reaction" feeling.) When it's really bad I will claw my skin off and leave long welts everywhere I touch. I can't describe how bad it is--imagine you have rolled yourself in fiberglass.Stick some up your nose and in your ears. Don't forget between your fingers and toes. Rub some on your scalp while you're at it. Thankfully, the urticaria is pretty well contained right now. I wouldn't say it's in remission because I still itch mildly all day and if I skip a dose of Allegra, holy cow! but its not something I think about all day every day, like it is when it's really flared up.
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Old 08-27-2009, 10:06 AM   #8
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Well, I am still having hives. Took Zyrtec for about 2 weeks and woke middle of the night Friday night & had to PRY my mouth open it was completely dry. Decided to try taking the chewable children's zyrtec & splitting the dose. Also, since it was the weekend & someone would be home added Pepcid. Began having tight chest, wheezing feeling - but peak flows ok, just feeling crappy.

So, I took a 5mg zyrtec at 2 yesterday, then benadryl at 6 am. Woke up in middle of night w/ hive on nose bridge so my bifocals don't sit right. Also, on the zyrtec I seemed to not get quite as many popping up, but getting more larger that stay for a few days before totally disappearing.

Called my PCP to see if she wanted me to try anything but the benadryl now & she wants me to come in later this morning. I also lucked out yesterday & have an allergy appt on 9/17, dermatologist on 9/14.

This is really disrupting my life & DH telling me that "I can't care about your dry, itchy skin because I'm tired & my back hurts" REALLY doesn't help! I get that he feels that this is totally normal "everyone gets hives", but my body is telling me that something is out of kilter. UGH!!!!!!!!!
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Old 08-27-2009, 05:15 PM   #9
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So, I went to my PCP. she said that Zyrtec nor Pepcid could cause tight chest (but it is in their allergic warnings) and that what is causing my chest pain is "whatever is causing the hives". told me to continue the zyrtec & maybe start singulair. Also gave me an albuterol inhaler.

When I told her I had an appt at an allergist, she LAUGHED & told me that I shouldn't be upset when they don't find anything. I understand they might not, but I think that since it has now been over a month, that maybe we should rule out some underlying disorder, or something!

Am I totally off base? The 1st Dr. I saw said if I still had after a week on zyrtec that they needed to do bloodwork to rule out a parasite, an autoimmune disorder or some underlying blood disorder....who is correct? My gut says do the tests.

And, to top it off, my heart has been doing it's flip flops most of the day & feeling like missed beats....stress, lack of sleep, possibly hormones, etc....what fun!!!
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Old 08-29-2009, 05:52 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by goldcupmom View Post
So, I went to my PCP. she said that Zyrtec nor Pepcid could cause tight chest (but it is in their allergic warnings) and that what is causing my chest pain is "whatever is causing the hives". told me to continue the zyrtec & maybe start singulair. Also gave me an albuterol inhaler.

When I told her I had an appt at an allergist, she LAUGHED & told me that I shouldn't be upset when they don't find anything. I understand they might not, but I think that since it has now been over a month, that maybe we should rule out some underlying disorder, or something!

Am I totally off base? The 1st Dr. I saw said if I still had after a week on zyrtec that they needed to do bloodwork to rule out a parasite, an autoimmune disorder or some underlying blood disorder....who is correct? My gut says do the tests.

And, to top it off, my heart has been doing it's flip flops most of the day & feeling like missed beats....stress, lack of sleep, possibly hormones, etc....what fun!!!
Your PCP laughed at you? OMG!

I think you're on the right track. When you have symptoms for which you aren't getting answers, and aren't getting better it seems the better idea to me to go to another doctor. Since you have symptoms consistent with possible allergic reaction, doesn't it make sense to start with an allergist?? They may or may not know what it is right off the bat, but I can't see how it would hurt to get an opinion. I think your PCP is the one off base!
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Old 09-02-2009, 09:16 AM   #11
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Another update....

Quick update & prayer request. Hives still going strong, breathing hurts at night & Sat - Mon evening & overnight as the hives flare I couldn't put weight on my right ankle fairly ok by morning. Last night ankle was swollen. and by 10 p.m. my rt knee wouldn't bend or straighten & can't walk. I was up all night w/ that &breathing pain. UGH!! going to try to get in to a dr. SOMETHING is NOT RIGHT!!!

Can't get in to yet a different Dr. in the group til 2:45......I HATE NM!!!!
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Old 09-02-2009, 11:05 AM   #12
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OP - I am worried about your complaints of chest pain, swelling, and inability to walk. I hope you can see a doctor soon.

I've been dealing with hives my whole life. Every few years I go through a month or two when it's really bad. I went to my dermatologist last November when it was really, really bad, and he said he could send me to an allergist and I could go through all kinds of allergy testing, but in cases of hives they never find anything. When I was a kid I was allergic to tuna and strawberries, and if I ate them I'd get hives, but I outgrew that and now it only seems to happen when I have a lot going on - stress, worries, super busy (and when I work-out or first get out of a hot shower). The stress diagnosis totally coincides with when my hives started a few weeks ago, when we changed adoption agencies. I take a Benadryl (or the generic equivalent) 2 times a day, put Cortisone on when I need it, and try not to think about it. I know how bad and frustrating it can be (I have a break-out on my right arm and left leg that have been there over a week) but I saw my PCP yesterday and she said unless I'm willing to take steroids or use a steroid cream, which probably won't help, there's nothing I can do. I'm not going to pump my body full of drugs for no good reason and she agreed the Benadryl and OTC Cortisone are best for me.

ETA: I did have a full blood work-up done just over a week ago and they found nothing. Definitely nothing that would cause my hives, but I never expected them too.

I did find info on this website that helped calm my nerves about my hives:
http://www.medicinenet.com/hives/article.htm
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Old 09-02-2009, 12:13 PM   #13
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I too have chronic hives and have had for over two years. The only thing I have found to offer much relief is Zyrtec daily.
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Old 09-02-2009, 02:02 PM   #14
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I'm the same about drugs, J&J. I had a bad reaction once after a surgery and I try to stay away from anything.

The odd thing is that these start out REALLY REALLY SMALL - like the size of a pore, some get bigger, most don't. And they start appearing around 1 - 5 p.m. and are gone mid morning next day unless they got to be very big. And then another crop hatches. Mostly on my torso, some palms, soles, scalp. Had a few in my cheeks/lip, 1 on nose bridge & last night one on chin- small.

The strange ankle & knee are baffling unless there developed a swelling inside the joint which is what it felt like. Same with my chest. feels like it hurts when I take deep breath & it comes & goes w/ the hives.

And, it is driving me insane!!!

And, of course, since my appt is in under 2 hours, I can't see any hives, knee & ankle are fine, breathing is nearly fine. UGH!!
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Old 09-02-2009, 02:38 PM   #15
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And, of course, since my appt is in under 2 hours, I can't see any hives, knee & ankle are fine, breathing is nearly fine. UGH!!
Good luck at the doctor!

Same thing when I saw my dermatologist last year, but then they came out while I was waiting. I was so glad that it happened while I was in the office! The dr. came in and he saw it, looked at it thoroughly, even used a light and these special glasses/binocular things, and didn't dismiss me at all, which made me feel better. Finally he said it was hives and told me to use OTC stuff or he could prescribe steroids, which I didn't want then and don't want now. He told me he'd send me to an allergist but they never find any causes for hives. He told me he had a colleague who had a sudden outbreak that lasted for a year; he went to an allergist and they ran every test and blood-work; found nothing; a year later they went away as mysteriously as they started, and every so often it happens. I figure it happened to me in November and lasted about 5 weeks. I've had it now about 4 weeks so hopefully this outbreak will end soon. But I never had chest pain or swelling so bad I couldn't walk. I've had pain in my mouth from it and swelling of my fingers but that's manageable.
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